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Immigration issues causes tension between South Africa and other SADC countries




South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa (2-L) during the third session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 March 2019. EPA-EFE/AARON UFUMELI

JOHANNESBURG – The issue of immigration has caused tension between South Africa and other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries with government facing pressure from South Africans who are struggling to access services.

The recent video and audio from Limpopo MEC of Health, Dr Phophi  Ramathuba and African National Congress (ANC) National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe are a clear indication that South Africa is experiencing huge challenges.

Limpopo’s MEC of Health is on a rant because her department is struggling to provide health services to South Africans and foreign nationals. The MEC is not budging.

 VIDEO: Issue of immigration causing tension between South Africa and other SADC countries

Dr Ramathuba, has defended her statement where she claims that Zimbabweans are placing strain on the province’s healthcare system. Ramathuba has been filmed confronting a foreign national scheduled for surgery at a hospital in the province.

In the video, she is heard telling the patient her country must take responsibility for her health issues, adding that Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa does not contribute to Limpopo’s health budget. Ramathuba says she stands by her statement.

“I do stand by its content because I need to share that understanding that’s not doing anything to our surgical backlog. People are abusing the system. When they hear that the MEC is coming to this district with special care. They leave their country to enter SA illegally and come to our hospitals. But doctors who operate on them, for ethical reasons even though the constitution will cover the doctors, don’t refuse to operate them. The South African whom we did this budget for is unable to get operated because they’re still flooding even our initiatives. This is an initiative outside our daily work.”

Behind the scenes, there are similar frustrations from the ANC officials. The South African government has been lambasted for failing to take a tough stand against the Zimbabwean government concerning the political and economic situation that has led to citizens of Zimbabwe flocking to South Africa.

SADC has also come under fire for its failure to address the Zimbabwe question. On its part, the government of Zimbabwe has dismissed views that there is a crisis in that country.

Zimbabwe will go to the polls next year and the current political climate and criticism of the electoral commission in that country for political bias will continue to dominate the news. – SABC




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